(May 1, 2017) Laptop Upcycle, a division of HackNCraftNJ, announces a $3500 grant from The Montclair Foundation that will support the organization’s free laptop program created for underserved kids in Montclair. Laptop Upcycle was formed Fall 2016 by Jon Bonesteel, Sarah Damaskos, and John Wisniewski, and has already distributed over 60 laptops and free wifi to to Montclair High School, Buzz Aldrin Middle School and Renaissance Middle School students who do not have home computer access.
Currently, Montclair middle school and high school homework is distributed, and graded completed primarily via Google Classroom. While reducing paper and waste, this type of computer-based learning model unintentionally penalizes students who don't have home computer access.
To bridge the technology-family income gap, Laptop Upcycle delivers donated, used laptops to Montclair students at risk. The laptops are donated by local businesses and families who have working, but no longer needed, hardware. The Montclair Foundation’s grant will purchase replacement batteries and missing power supplies for otherwise functional laptops.
Founding member John Wisniewski is thrilled, “With a waiting list of students, we’re constantly seeking usable, working laptops from the greater Montclair community. Many times, older donated laptops that are in good working shape are missing a power supply or their battery is just shot. The Montclair Foundation grant provides the critical gap funding so that Laptop Upcycle can replace these essential components and ensure that the laptop is 100% usable by the student.”
Laptop Upcycle’s process is straightforward and entirely volunteer-powered. As Mac or PC computers are donated, each is securely wiped to ensure that all data is thoroughly removed. Then, each computer is loaded with an open source Operating System and educational software to provide students with the technology they need for homework and academic success. For families without home internet access, a wifi router with 5 years of free service can also be provided. Laptop Upcycle provides drop-in support and Q&A for students and their family at the HackNCraftNJ Makerspace, located in the United Way building, during scheduled open hours.
To volunteer or donate laptops or funds, go to www.LaptopUpcycle.org. Donors receive a tax-deductible receipt of $300 for each usable, donated computer. For middle school or high school students without home computer access, students and families should contact their school guidance counselor or go to http://www.laptopupcycle.org/get-technology.html to apply for a laptop and/or wifi.
Laptop Upcycle's mission is to eliminate technology impediments contributing to Montclair’s academic achievement gap. Program volunteers provide outreach, collect, refresh and distribute donated private and corporate laptop donations to low-income middle and high school students who do not have home computer access. Laptop Upcycle is a program of HackNCraftNJ, Inc (Montclair, NJ), a 501c(3) not-for-profit organization. Visit www.LaptopUpcycle.org for more information or follow us on https://www.facebook.com/laptopupcycle/ for announcements and success stories.
The Montclair Foundation is a nonprofit that awards grants to charitable organizations in the greater Montclair area. It was established to support not-for-profit organizations that meet health, educational, cultural, social service and quality of life needs in the greater Montclair community. https://vanvleck.org/montclair-foundation-mission/
John Wisniewski and Jon Bonesteel met with Natalie Heard from TAP Montclair over coffee and discussed how we created the project and how we started up. There are some great pics of the three of us (including Sarah Damaskos) at Buzz Aldrin Middle School for one of our early drop offs with excited young adults. Dan Taylor and Principal Jill Sack have been great supporters of Laptop Upcycle. Check out the story HERE.